All houses are 13′ X 20′ in size and are made of cinder blocks which are produced locally. The roofs are made of tin. All houses have a concrete floor, 2 doors and 2 wood windows made by a carpenter in Santa Patricia! No utilities are supplied for the house.
Houses Scheduled for Construction
Prior to each of the mission trips, the leaders of the local congregation develop a list of houses that need replacement. This is supplemented by individuals the BASIC group identifies from regularly scheduled interviews with people from the entire community. With the list in hand, members of the construction crew inspect the houses and select the ones that are in the most immediate need for replacement.
As part of the partnership with Lutheran Church of Canada, BASIC has agreed to finance the construction of houses for those people serving as Pastors or Deaconesses in Nicaragua. The goal is to provide 2 new houses each year. (see pictures of happy recipients)
Cost Of A House
All houses are constructed using material purchased locally. The approximate cost is $3,000 US.
Constructing a house began with a very humble beginning. The first house replaced the black plastic shelter occupied by a single mom and her daughter. This small house provided experience and encouragement that it could be done at a reasonable cost. So now more than 50 houses later we follow the following procedure. A team including a local mason, two helpers and US volunteers set out to build the house. Trenches are dug in the ground to make room for the footers, next reinforcing bar is lowered into the trench. Then comes the concrete. When it comes time for concrete a space is leveled on the dirt nearby. First sand and then gravel and finally cement is poured in a pile on the ground. It is then mixed using shovels, by hand. When completely mixed water is incorporated and when ready is shoveled into buckets and carried to the trenches. With the elevated temperature the concrete dries quickly so laying the concrete block wall begins immediately. Before the mortar can be prepared, the sand must be screened by hand to remove the large particles.
After 6 layers of blocks are laid for each wall, form boards are set in place and a six inch concrete joint is poured. Again reinforcing bar is included. The ring of concrete and re-bar ties the wall together which allows the walls to withstand the pressure of high winds. The corners are also constructed of poured concrete with re-bar in the core. One of the side walls is built two rows of blocks higher to provide a slope for water runoff. Of special note is that many of the supplies are transported to the site via horse and cart, often a 5 mile trip. We are pleased to be able to provide income for some of the local residents.
While the house are being constructed the wood doors and windows are constructed.
The roof is a simple rafter and tin design with an extended over hang on one side. On the other side tin is wrapped over the edge to prevent rain from blowing in.
Finally the doors and windows are installed.
On the final day of the visit all volunteers for the trip visit each of the houses. Pastor Mardau goes along and blesses each of the new homes.
The real joy of the hard work is being there when the people receive their new safe and secure home. A true dream come true.